Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
1 Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
Do you see a pattern here? Peter, James and Paul all repeat the same things over and over again. So let’s take a closer look at the point they are making.
First of all, they all start with the instructions for us to get rid of these things. This means it is OUR responsibility, not God’s. We not only need the desire to remove these things from our lives, but also have the follow through to act on that desire.
Secondly, notice that basically every one of these items we need to be rid of have to do with our relationships with other people. These things are not only hurting ourselves, but also hurting other people. They are the most common ways that we destroy the Body of Christ from the inside.
Third, I’ve found a pattern in Col 3:8 – it starts with anger as an emotion, but then it progresses into an outburst of rage. If not checked at that point, it morphs into malice, a desire for bad things to happen to another person. After we’ve thought evil of the person long enough, we start speaking evil things against them to others. After that, we lose control of our heart and our mouth and start railing and abusing them to their face as well as to others.
But HOW do we RID ourselves of these self-centered, fleshly actions and responses to other people? First of all, you have to WANT to rid yourself of these things. We have to admit that we get something out of the anger we feel and the progressive expressions of that anger. It makes us feel powerful, and falsely better than the other person.
That’s why James’ word “humbly” is so important. When you are full of yourself, you will remain angry at others. When you are humble, you will remember that you mess up, too, and Jesus forgave you, so you have no reason to hold things over others’ heads.
Once you agree with the Word that the angry feelings you are dwelling on are unhealthy for you and others, then you must stop, breathe and surrender to God’s Holy Spirit, asking Him to take control. It is the ONLY way to get rid of these things, because you don’t have it in your own strength to do that. That is why the Word says it is God who works and wills in you.
Questions for the day:
1. Who do you get angry with and STAY angry with? Why?
2. What is stopping you from humbling yourself and surrendering to the Holy Spirit?